each morning at 10:30, i report to francis, stonelake farm's garden director. he assigns me a task in the garden that takes about an hour. in exchange, i receive fresh farm eggs and delicious dinners that come straight from the garden. plus, i learn a whole lotta new gardening knowledge and skills. the deal is sweet.
first task: working with melinda, we built supports for the tomatoes.
second task: digging and prepping circles for watermelons, cantaloupes, and winter squashes.
the garden requires an unbelievable amount of forethought, attention, research, love, and labor. task done, i roll - to go read, to go eat, to go be mindful, to go find the waterfall. francis and melinda stay put and keep working.
from my standards, the garden is huge and includes one main section and about four or five smaller, terraced plots. the goal, melinda says, is for the garden to feed her and francis as well as visitors to the farm.
a week ago, while in omaha, sarah and i saw author/farmer/humanitarian barbara kingsolver on the television. we only caught the last five minutes but everything she said made so much sense. upon returning to the city, i bought her new book, animal, vegetable, miracle, thinking it would be a perfect book to read at stonelake farm.
with excellent help from her husband steven and eldest daughter camille, kingsolver manages to horrify and delight. she horrifies with stories of terminator genes, genetically modified seeds that after one year of life are programmed to commence a species-wide suicide - killing the plant, preventing the farmer from saving seeds for next year's crop, and boosting profit for corporations like monsanto. and she delights by recounting how much health and joy and well being and pleasure she and her family gather from working in and eating from their garden.
kingsolver's book and stonelake farm share many similar characteristics, i think, and one of them is this - both are rooted in growing solutions not merely bemoaning situations.